A good spec for editing video?

  1936 17:39 15 Aug 07

Its time to buy a new machine just to use for transfering family VHS tapes to the computer to edit them and to build slide shows form loads of photographs that I have.
I understand that Vista is not recomended for such work so I want XP and I also understand that I need an extra hard drive of about 500GB

I see Dual core 2 and Quad -core processors mentioned but I don't know which is the most effective.

Mesh recomend the Mesh Elite Prestige Duo
Dell recomend a Dell Dimension 920
Neither appear inclined to give me XP so I would welcome and idears.

  zoobie 18:04 15 Aug 07

you're going to make DVD's?
click here

  eedcam 18:12 15 Aug 07

500G/b not really I manage quite easily with 120G though that is a second drive 2 drives with one dedicated to the video side is best. and I use adobe premiere and premiere elements and they dont come much more power hungry than those 2.I would seriously consider putting your vhs tapes to dvd via a dvd recorder first then editing on the pc as and when you have time
The rest of my specs are P4 3 G /1 G ram and nvideo graphics card with 120 Mb

  Gongoozler 18:30 15 Aug 07

You could always buy a PC without an operating system and install XP yourself. e.g.click here

  holme 19:25 15 Aug 07

Here's what we said in reply to a near-identical query:

"IMHO, a high-spec graphics capability is not particularly important for video editing. We quite happily edit on a 4-year-old laptop with a modest graphics card. [2.66GHz Pentium 4].

However, this is one of the occasions where the installed RAM really does make a big difference. Digital video files can quickly become sizeable, especially if you're ... editing/saving to ... full DVD standards.

So although it's perfectly feasible to edit video on a machine with (say) 500MB RAM, that will almost certainly result in lots of hard disc thrashing and reduced performance, due to the routine need to use virtual RAM.

So assuming the machine will come with Vista, we do recommend you look for something with at least 1GB RAM, or upgrade to same. This will speed things up quite considerably on memory-hungry applications. Video editing is a good example of this."

Further to that, we recently upgraded the laptop from XP to Vista Basic. Still 500MB RAM. It still worked fine on video editing, just slowed down a tad (about 10%). Then we upped the RAM to 1GB and video editing (especially converting to MPEG2 for DVD) speeded up considerably, by around 30%.

Our main video editor is a Core 2 Duo E6600 with Vista Basic and 2GB RAM, running Ulead VideoStudio 10 Plus. It is utterly-butterly brilliant, running nearly twice as fast as the P4 laptop.

So there's no problem using Vista, you don't need an ultra-fast graphics card, or (as eedcam said) a particularly large hard drive. But 1GB or preferably more RAM will speed things up considerably (less disc thrashing).

We entirely agree with eedcam about dubbing initially to DVD recorder if you have access to one. VideoStudio (v9 or later) will then download the digital files directly from DVD. HTH.

  1936 17:00 20 Aug 07

O.K. Lets take the discusion a little further and move into specifics.
I have about £800.00 to spend and am considering buying either a Dell or Mesh computer to use as a stand alone machine just for video editing. I want to be able to build slide shows, edit old VHS tapes by uploading them from a VCR to the computer. I also want to be able to connect a camcorder to the computer.

I don't mind spending the money but I don't want to finish up with an inappropriate specification I am not confident enough to use the customise facility so I wonder if anyone would care to propose a Dell or a Mesh specification that will me meet my needs:

I know that I need the following but do not know what else I need to make sure it is built into the machine.

A Dua/Quad Core processor.
Two hard drives.

  holme 19:02 20 Aug 07

All I can say is that IMHO your stated spec is considerable overkill for what you are proposing to do, particularly if you aren't planning to (say) burn DVDs.

Building slide shows and editing video tapes (e.g. removing adverts, trailers, etc) is quite a modest activity computerwise.

If you're not planning to burn DVDs, you could even use the built-in Windows Movie Maker to do the job. It's a pleasure to use at this level.

As far as I can see, the only extra kit you need is some sort of interface to be able to connect a VCR to the computer. This can be either an internal or plug in adaptor, or use a TV card (with suitable auxiliary video/audio input sockets to connect the VCR). HTH.

  1936 19:45 20 Aug 07

I have just completed my first slide show and found that my current machine with the following spec was very slow.
2.20 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64
300GB Hard drive
I therfore looked at some of the video editing forums and found recomendations for new machines with at least 2GB of RAM because of Vista. On top of that they also recommended at least two hard drives because they claimed that the video editing software was so complex.
When I mentioned slide shows I meant uploading up to 200 photographs, giving a tile to each on with full page title/text and transitions in-between each one. Because my spelling is awfull I had to keep going back to edit my text and this was a slow process. The finished slide show was in excess of 3GB.
By editing video I meant connecting a VCR to a computer with the sort of device that came with the computer and uploading the VHS content to that I could edit the rubbish out such as a newly built pond filmed filling with water. I asked the question in the hope that a Dell or Mesh owner who uses video editing software might give their views but any advice is welcome.

  eedcam 23:22 20 Aug 07

Well if you are going to put a 3G/byte slide show onto dvd be prepared to leave it running overnight even with a high spec machine.

  holme 09:45 21 Aug 07

" ... claimed that the video editing software was so complex"

IMHO, Windows Movie Maker is competent, straightforward (certainly not complex), very user-friendly and a pleasure to use.

We use Ulead's VideoStudio only because v9 or later has some valuable features which Movie Maker doesn't. It supports HD (better for viewing your work on a monitor rather than TV). It is enormously capable but, if you're already familiar with Movie Maker, it's quite easy (and a *very* pleasant experience) getting to grips with the extra bells and whistles on a try-it-and-see-what-happens basis. The printed manual is also a great help.

I believe either or both of these titles will meet your requirements without any problem.

"The finished slide show was in excess of 3GB."

Forgive me for querying this, but I cannot get my head round how a slideshow consisting of c. 200 slides can possibly eat up 3GB. I've just done a very quick knock-up of 75 slides, using Windows Movie Maker, 15 secs apiece, including transitions and some effects, which comes to 378MB.

Can I query a few points:

What is the typical resolution (in X/Y pixels) of the source slides? (Presumably JPEGs?)

What edit software are you using to produce the slideshow?

How long does the total slideshow take to display? How long (in secs) have you set each image to display?

What sort of transition(s) are you using?

Finally, please could you confirm whether or not you will be putting anything onto DVD. You didn't answer zoobie and we get the impression that you will not. But if you are, and if you are genuinely going to run up to 3GB files, then I agree with eedcam's comment!

  1936 10:28 21 Aug 07

When I first started trying to learn Pinnacle Studio 10.8 I was continually getting into trouble and when I complained on a Pinnacle Studio forum I was told that the video editing software was much more complex than say a word package with much more code to be written.

I tried Windows Movie Maker and it is competent and straightforward and very user-friendly and a pleasure to use. However, it does not allow me to make a full page of text at as an introduction to a chapter.

I opened the folder where Pinnacle Studio holds its files and went into Properties and it read as follows: 3.41GB 3,367 files, 51 folders. I have to say that I was surprised. Perhaps it holds all the changes that I made.

I don't know how to work out the typical resolution (in X/Y pixels) of the source slides but it is JPEGs?)

I used Pinnacle Studio 10.8 which has created many problems but now that I'm used to it I'm loath to move to another package although I have read a lot of good things about Adobe.

The slide show runs for 40 minutes and I set each slide to 10 seconds and the full page text ones to 1 minute. The transitions are those on Pinnacle studio and I did burn the finished result to a DVD and it took about an hour or so.

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